Kennedy High School athletic director Dave Jankowski has admitted to clearing water polo coach Joshua Owens of sexual misconduct with female players in December 2015 following an investigation that lasted 15 to 20 minutes and in which Jankowski made no attempt to speak to the alleged victim or the whistleblower in the case, according to documents obtained by the Orange County Register.
Instead, Jankowski spoke only to Owens, head water polo coach Eric Pierce and Dean Wang, another athletic director at the school, before describing the allegations and submitting a report to Kennedy principal Russell Earnest that characterized the allegations as a “misunderstanding,” Jankowski acknowledged in a May 22 deposition.
“I did not attempt to verify that (Owens) was lying to me,” Jankowski said in the deposition.
The failure of Jankowski and at least five other Kennedy administrators, coaches and teachers to report allegations of sexual misconduct against Owens in 2014 and 2015 to law enforcement or Child Protective Services as required by California law enabled Owens to sexually abuse two teenage athletes, begin sexually abusing a Kennedy freshman athlete in 2016 and sexually harass at least two other Kennedy students, asking them to have sex with him, according to police reports, Anaheim Union High School District documents and deposition transcripts obtained by the Register.
Owens was arrested in November 2016 after another Kennedy water polo assistant coach reported allegations of Owens engaging in sex acts with a Kennedy water polo player to CPS.
Owens pleaded guilty last August to one count each of oral copulation with a victim younger than 16, and sexual penetration of a victim younger than 16 and six misdemeanor counts of child annoyance. He was sentenced to six months in jail, according to plea agreement documents.
Five current and former Kennedy players have filed suit in Orange County Superior Court alleging that Owens, Jankowski, Earnest, Wang, Pierce, Ian Sabala, a Kennedy teacher, Jack Jensen, a former Kennedy administrator, and the AUHSD failed to prevent, report or stop Owens alleged sexual abuse of teenage girls, some of whom were freshmen when the alleged abuse began.
Jankowski did not respond to requests for comment. The AUHSD also did not respond to requests for comment.
Bahram Hojreh, another Kennedy High water polo coach, was arrested last April and charged with nearly two dozen felony and misdemeanor charges, including lewd acts upon a child, sexual penetration of a minor with a foreign object, child annoyance and sexual battery.
Prosecutors allege that between September 2014 to January 2018; Hojreh touched players breasts and genitals, digitally penetrated victims, and coerced girls to touch his genitals while working as a water polo coach at the International Water Polo Club in Los Alamitos. The acts took place during one-on-one coaching sessions between Hojreh and the players, four of whom were 15 years old or younger at the time.
Hojreh, who has denied any wrongdoing, was hired as the girls varsity head coach at Kennedy in August 2017. He was placed on administrative leave by the Anaheim Union High School District on Jan. 3, 2018 after district officials became aware of a police investigation of Hojreh. He was eventually fired by the district.
Hojreh was hired at Kennedy seven months after abruptly leaving his coaching position at University High in Irvine in January 2017. He was also hired despite being the director at International Water Polo where he employed Pierce as his assistant director. Pierce was fired at Kennedy in January 2017.
“This litigation, coupled with the litigation related to Mr. Hojreh, reveal that Anaheim Union High School District not only failed in its responsibilities, but was complicit in the failures, and intentionally disregarded the safety of its students, to protect one of their own,” said Morgan Stewart, an attorney for the players. “If those that are responsible are not held to account, this pattern will simply replicate itself within the District and beyond.”
On Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, Sabala forwarded an email from a former student to Jensen, then the schools assistant principal.
The young woman, a former Kennedy water polo player attending college out of state, told Sabala, her former anatomy teacher, that players on that seasons water polo team had told her that Owens was “trying to get at one of the freshman players.”
The former student and current players, the young woman wrote to Sabala, were reluctant to speak up, especially to Pierce and Wang.
“Because this isnt the first time this assistant coach has tried to date a player on the team,” the former student wrote. “Last year he actually dated one of the players and when it was brought to the attention of the head coach it was quickly swept under the rug.”
Jensen updated Sabala on the matter the following day in an email.
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“Ian. We got to the bottom of this situation,” Jensen wrote. “It is not what was presented. I will stop by and explain.”
Stewart said “Mr. Jensens indication to Ian Sabala that allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct were a misunderstanding, more than likely stopped a mandatory report that would have involved law enforcement and would have ceased Owens sexual abuse of students.”
Jensen, now an assistant principal at Loara High School, did not respond to request for comment.
Jankowski in his deposition described an investigation that lasted less than a half-hour and in which he made no attempt to even identify the alleged victims.
“I know he really didnt look into it,” Owens said in his deposition, referring to Jankowski.
Jankowsi, a mandated reporter under state law, said he did not report the allegations to CPS or law enforcement. No other Kennedy or AUHSD employee reported the December 2015 allegations against Owens to law enforcement or police, according to police reports and court documents.
“At the time, I didnt feel I had reasonable suspicion to report,” Jankowski said in the deposition.
Earnest told Jankowski on Dec. 14, 2015, to look into the allegations emailed to Sabala the previous night. In addition to sending the whistle blowers emails to Jensen, Sabala also forwarded emails to Jankowski, Earnest and Wang the night of Dec. 13. Earnest was later forced out at Kennedy. He was hired as associate principal at Duarte High School in June 2017 after receiving a letter of recommendation from AUHSD Superintendent Michael Matsuda.
Jankowski, Earnest, Wang, and Pierce were also aware of allegations of sexual mRead More – Source